A Nigerian man aboard a flight en route to Detroit allegedly tried to ignite a powdery substance as the plane neared its destination on Friday in an effort to blow up the aircraft, a senior U.S. counter-terror official told the AP. The White House released a statement calling it an "attempted act of terrorism." Multiple law enforcement officials identified the passenger as Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab, a 23-year-old student at the University College London. He reportedly said Al Qaeda instructed him to cause an explosion on the flight from Amsterdam once over U.S. soil. The suspect also told authorities the substance, which he said he acquired in Yemen, was taped to his leg and that he had used a syringe of chemicals to combine with the powder to cause an explosion, a method consistent with terrorist techniques. The failed explosion “sounded like a firecracker in a pillowcase,” said one man on the flight. Jasper Schuringa, a director from Amsterdam, helped extinguish the burning object and dragged the suspect to the front of the plane, where he was handcuffed. Mutallab is being held at the Detroit airport and the FBI is interviewing him, along with others on board. Officials are attempting to confirm the validity of the suspect’s terrorist claims and determine his mental state. The Transportation Security Administration said that the aircraft and all baggage were being re-screened. President Obama and U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano have both been briefed on the incident.